News: The Internet has created new business models for the drug trade.
UK drug dealers are making huge profits from the global online drugs market, with UK-based drug dealers making more money than any of their European rivals.
According to research by Rand Europe, UK drug dealers made £1.7m in online sales and grabbed a 16% share of the global online drugs market. The research, commissioned by the Dutch government, found the UK trailing significantly behind US criminals, with US-based dealers boasting a 36% share of the online market.
The report highlighted the fact that the Internet had, like other markets, created new business models for the drug trade – models which have returned huge profits for criminals.
Although high-profile marketplaces such as Silk Road have been shut down by authorities, criminals are using marketplaces on the dark web like never before. According to the research, the number of drug deals taking place on the dark web has tripled since 2013, although the number of deals could be much higher as Rand Europe faced difficulties in collecting data due to the secretive nature of online marketplaces. The research dubs these marketplaces as ‘cryptomarkets’, with Rand explaining the term as:
‘Cryptomarkets look similar to regular online market places, such as eBay or Amazon, by allowing their customers to search and compare products and rate vendors. These markets bring vendors and buyers’ together acting under pseudonyms to trade illegal drugs, new psychoactive substances (NPS), prescription drugs and other, often illegal, goods and services.
The most popular drug of choice on the dark web was found to be cannabis (33%), followed by prescription medication (19%), stimulants (18%), ecstasy-type drugs (125), and psychedelics (11%).